When St. Paul counsels us to “pray constantly,” or the Catholic Catechism calls prayer a “vital necessity,” even a good Christian might be forgiven for asking, “Why?”
Why is it necessary at all, if we believe that God knows our thoughts, loves us thoroughly and gives us all that we need?
That is, the sun will still rise, beauty will still overspread the land, suffering will still occur.
So why pray?
The poet Mary Oliver says, How to keep warm/is always a problem,/isn’t it?/Of course, there’s love./And there’s prayer.
And keeping warm – keeping our intentional relationship with God warm and alive, that is – may be the real point. Continue Reading
By Stefanie MacDonald, OSB
“Prayer … is a practice of attention, of attentiveness, an attitude of receptiveness to God’s sustaining presences.” Martin Poulsom, SDB
Reading a paper by Poulsom yesterday made me ask myself how I am coming to prayer. Am I paying attention? Am I coming to pray with an open heart, mind and soul?
I admit sometimes I’m off track. My own worries and distractions can undermine my attentiveness and receptiveness. Continue Reading
Thunderstorms crackled and roared through the area early this morning, leaving puddled walkways, downed branches, and, for the moment at least, no breeze at all. Our resident chipmunk darts past as if the sun were shining brightly. Overhead, flat-iron gray clouds are pocked with wisps of light. More thunderstorms are forecast. Continue Reading
Every Thanksgiving I pray/read the following poem written by a friend and co-worker at Lutheran Social Services. We were both working with difficult cases, she with children of abuse. She was tall, slim, with beautiful laughing, blue eyes and short cropped natural curly hair. Continue Reading
I was in a discussion this week when a woman said, “It is very hard to understand the resurrection. People have a hard time understanding death, let alone someone being raised from the dead.” And she is right. The resurrection is very difficult to understand. Continue Reading
When a desert abba once said, “Watching means to sit in your cell and be always mindful of God,” he could have been talking about Centering Prayer. An ancient practice that may lead to contemplation, Centering Prayer helps practitioners, through silence, learn to rest in God – and know God. It is stunningly simple. Learn how.
Turn away your face from my sins, blot out all my guilt. A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit Psalm 51
When discerning about religious life it is essential to look at yourself and where you have been in your life. My last blog posed the question of who loved you immensely and in some way introduced you to the intimate love of God as reflected in Psalm 139. Today I look at Psalm 51, another passage I suggest for discerning about your personal history.
Psalm 51 is powerful because it recalls the loving, forgiving and nurturing God. Continue Reading
By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB
“O God you are eternal life and everlasting peace by your essence,” prayed the seventy-some women and men who participated in the 3rd annual Muslim/Christian Women’s Dialogue, sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of Rock Island. The doors opened with flowing crowds coming from their study clubs, their Scripture groups, coming with their spouses, their daughters, their mothers and by themselves. They came until all chairs were filled and the room was electrified with greetings of, “It is so good to see you again!” “I don’t recall your name but you were at my table last year!” Continue Reading
We also pray the following prayer of Saints Benedict and Scholastica at Vespers:
Raise up, O Lord, in your church, the Spirit which prompted our holy founders, Benedict and Scholastica; that we, being filled with the same Holy Spirit, may strive to love what they loved and to practice what they taught. Grant us, we beseech you, O Lord, perseverance in obeying your will so that, in our days, the faithful dedicated to your service may increase both in holiness and in number. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
To all the readers of this blog: Please let me know if you have any suggestions for other prayers here. As for our daily Psalms, you can find a chart for every day of the week on our webside and pray them with us!
We pray the Benedictus – the song of Zacharias at the birth of John the Baptist – every evening, at Vespers:
Blest are you, the God of Israel, you have come to your people and set them free. You have raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets, you promised of old to save us from the hands of all who hate us, to show mercy to our ancestors, and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to Abraham and Sarah: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship you without fear, holy and righteous before you, all the days of our life.
And you child shall be called the prophet of the most high, for you will go befoe the Lord to prepare the way, to give God’s people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.